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Maia (Beklan Empire #2)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  1,934 Ratings  ·  171 Reviews
Maia is a fifteen-year-old peasant beauty growing up in poverty beside Lake Serrelind. Seduced by her stepfather and betrayed by her jealous mother, Maia finds herself in the hands of slave-traders to be sold as a concubine. She attracts the attention of General Kembri who uses her to obtain information from her admirers and her adventures uncover a plot for civil war. Pro ...more
Paperback, 1128 pages
Published August 29th 1985 by Penguin Books (first published September 27th 1984)
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Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside)
Boy...I am surprised at how many people here gave this book a low rating and claimed it was "social commentary on women" or that the author obviously has a low opinion of women or portrays women negatively. Really? Did we read the same book? This book is full of strong and admirable female characters...and even some not-so-admirable female characters who still cannot be said to be dumb, small-brained, only interested in sex, or any other misrepresentation slung about here in these reviews.

Maia i
Jan 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the dirtiest book I have ever read. Besides that, it is an incredible fantasy story. Two years later and it is still infecting my dreams.
Nov 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

great storytelling. sexist in the extreme. this book has been redubbed "Maia: Nubile Wench" in our household.

Rev. Nyarkoleptek
It took some time for me to determine exactly why I didn't like this book. After all, I deeply loved Shardik, set in the same world, and Adams writes some damn good erotica. So why didn't Maia do it for me?

In re-reading, Shardik, I realized what was missing in Maia: Maia was a character that observed and experienced, but never acted. Her presence triggered major events, but only seemingly by default -- any other character, put in her position, could have triggered the same events. Maia, ultimate
Feb 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richard Adams' mastery of rhetoric and linguistics makes this book one of my all-time favorites. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it did, and continued to do so for the novel's entirety.

It is so rare to find strong character-driven stories with a good mastery of language. Afterward, I tried picking up novels by other authors and I felt like my IQ was dropping!

Adams challenges you not only rhetorically, but artistically with his concoted culture, civilization, plot lines, descripti
Anand Subramanian
Just another masterpiece from the pen of Richard Adams. A prequel of sorts to Adams' second novel, Shardik, Maia (written ten years later)does include many of the same characters from Shardik, although the plots of the two novels have little relation to each other. Both works, based in Adams' richly detailed world, including the Beklan empire and some adjoining territories, are long-format epics, with plots that span periods of a few years.

Although Shardik, with its exploration of religion, its
ink shark
This book is so rich that no matter how many times I read it, I always find something new to enjoy, or I find I've forgotten something. The world is a character as much as any of the sprawling cast. Anyone who enjoys Song of Ice and Fire may very well enjoy this, as it has the same intricate politics and minimal fantasy elements.

My one regret for this book is that it was written during an era when black people were still rampantly exoticized in fiction, and so there's a few moments where I wince
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Sometimes when you read a book, it just seems to call out to you; you suddenly know that you will love it and it will be special to you. This was the case with Maia. There is no review I can give this that will do this book justice. It has been a journey. It has been an adventure. I will never forget this novel and it has surely warmed my heart and found a place in it.

This book was very little like I expected from the synopsis. I remember coming across it here on GoodReads and being intrigued. S
Petros Tr
Jan 22, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Probably Richard Adams' worst book. It isn't even worth my time to review it.
Read my review of the first book, exclude the good things mentioned, and everything that remains describes Maia perfectly.

Mar 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this two decades ago, and I read it again periodically (much to the distress of those living with me, for I disappear over a period of two or three days whenever I crack it again). Maia is the sort of blissful innocent I occasionally envy--she plunges in when others pause to think and somehow benefits herself in the end. The cast of characters around Maia are varied and capture my interest more fully than she. A few vivid scenes make it an oddly compelling read for those wishing to escape t ...more
Oct 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to RLD by: I got fooled by the cover and blurb, and (at 13) I liked Watership Down.
Richard Adams should've stuck to writing the internal lives of rabbits, though it is clear that he thinks the female brain is much the same size.
Better title for this book: "INCEST AND THE INGENUE" or "young women are so dumb but sometimes they are pretty and I wish I could watch them enjoy nonconsensual sex".

The "heroine" namesake of this novel is written as the quintessential ingenue: vapid, naive, constantly in peril that she is too busy fretting to recognize and avoid. Adams clearly wrote t
Sep 05, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: no-longer-owned
I found Maia at a used bookstore & have been reading it on & off for the last few weeks.

It's a very, very long book - just over 1200 pages in my PB copy. It follows Maia, a beautiful country girl, who gets sold into slavery and becomes a concubine in the household of the High Counselor of Bekla. On the way, she makes friends with Occula, an exotic bed-girl (not much older than Maia) who is scheming for revenge. Amid the court intrigue (of which she gradually becomes aware), Maia proves h
Eden Celeste
I read this book in high school and it had such an impact on me that I still remember a good portion of it even to this day. In fact this book shaped my decision to absolutely NOT be in love with my first "romantic tryst" (yes, I know, TMI).

With that said, I would not necessarily recommend it. I remember this book so well because it annoyed the hell out of me. It was written by the guy who wrote that nice little rabbit story, Watership Down. He should stick to writing about bunnies. In Maia he
In the late 80's I was invited on an incredible sailing vacation. I flew to a tiny island in the Bahamas and was picked up by friends who were sailing the islands for the winter. I was told to pack light and soft. We would tour several small islands and enjoy the beautiful Caribbean for a long time - at least a week, as I recall. I knew I couldn't go without a book, and figured I'd better get a big one, so I wouldn't run out of book on some paradise without a bookstore. I had enjoyed Richard Ada ...more
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just re-read this book, and amazingly enough, it was just as good as the first time through (when I was in high school). By the same author as Watership Down, it couldn't be more different, except that it is equally imaginative. Maia is a slave girl who lives in a fully-detailed fictional world. This book would appeal to anyone who cherishes the occasional brilliant fantasy or historical novel, although it is strictly neither. It is pure fun. Once you get pulled into Maia's world, you're happy ...more
Claudia King
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review transcribed from my blog
(contains minor spoilers)

* * *

One of my favourite books, which I may have mentioned once or twice before on this blog, is Maia by Richard Adams. It's certainly not the "best" book I've ever read in an objective sense, but it has a very special place in my heart as one of the few stories I've ever been able to completely lose myself in. I wanted this book to go on and on, and I've never felt so sad about coming to the end of a story as I was when I closed the cover
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wishes Ros from GoT had her own tome
Shelves: high-fantasy
Richard Adams's MAIA is like a bizarre combination of Jacqueline Carey's KUSHIEL series's premise (alt-world low-fantasy setting about a woman of famed beauty who gains influence through her work as a sex slave and ensuing travels and espionage and whatnot) and Hillary Mantel's WOLF HALL's arc (low-born rises to surprising political prominence; intriguing abounds). Except that it was written seventeen years before the former and twenty-five years before the latter -- making those two (much more ...more
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book doesn't feel like anything I've ever read before, and I don't know if I can really describe has a strange, dreamlike quality to it but also is hugely epic. There are parts that are almost like something out of The Chronicles of Narnia, in that they seem almost parable-like and bittersweet and dear. Then there are parts that remind me of Gone With The Wind, huge and sweeping wars that change an entire way of life in the empire, seen through the effects on the lives of a few cha ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, favorites
I first read this book a long time ago when I was about 18 or so. I picked it up at the library because of how much I had loved Watership Down. As all the reviews have stated, this book is very different and may not appeal to the same audiences. However, I found it to be utterly absorbing and compelling. Adams is an superb storyteller. His fantasy world depicts an empire that is in transition from a kind of feudalism to a more money-based commercial/capitalist society. A corrupt group of conspir ...more
Mar 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Jacqueline Carey, fans of Robert Adams, people who like politics in fantasy stories
Shelves: fantasy
Reading Maia was a very interesting experience. The book had many chapters that crawled by, but also many that seemed like a best-seller page turner. It was very hard to get into at first, especially because I had a copy without a dust jacket and therefore I had no idea what I was "getting into" at all.
This is the story of a young girl - in her early teens, who is sold into slavery and eventually bought as a pleasure slave in a very rich and prestigious household in the capital city.
She is very
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my very favorite books, I have read this book numerous times and enjoy it every single time.

The heroine is not typical. She is extremely naïve and young, but this does not equal dumb. She submits to the world (as a slave must) but is able to retain her nature and basic character to remain uncorrupted by a predominately hedonistic society.

I think a lot of what makes me like Maia as a character is that while bad (IRL traumatic) stuff happens to her, she chooses to not be victimize
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
one of my fav books of all time, i have read it over and over since i was young...

again, it is not my usual fare, but Adams is such a phenomenal writer, he could publish his shopping list and it would be a good read...his use of language is some of the best you'll ever encounter, and his characters are believable and engaging...more than that, tho, they are unforgettable....

what else can i say about it?...if you are offended by sexual content, this is probably not the book for you...while very s
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't let the 1200+ pages scare you away. I enjoyed the characters, especially Maia, and now that I've finished the story, I miss her. The book is very descriptive and can get bogged down and confusing with too many odd names, words, and descriptions but those areas are easily skimmed and the story moves easily through Maia being sold into slavery and her rise to the top.
Emily Crow
Maia is a leisurely, voluptuous, minutely detailed and densely written 1000+ page fantasy novel about a peasant girl turned concubine/spy/heroine and finally housewife. It took me forever to read, not so much because of its not inconsiderable length as because of the lushly slow-paced writing. And on the whole, I liked it very much, especially:

1. The writing itself, which was so rich and detailed that I easily got lost in the setting (even more than the story). Most fantasy stories disappoint me
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book has been one of my favorites, if not my favorite book, for a very long time. As with any opinion in a subjective world like that of art and literature, my thoughts and opinons have changed and grown over time; the amazing thing about Maia is that she grew with me.

Maia, and its companion novel Shardik, are set in an ancient, Mesopotamian kingdom reminiscent of Babylon. While not strictly a fantasy, sometimes the two are categorized as such because of the raw spirituality inherent in al
Jessie Eisenmann
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up Maia in a tiny bookstore in Alabama a few years ago. As soon as I laid eyes on the breathtaking cover, I snatched it up. The book had been there for so long that the owner of the bookstore just let me have it for free - how's that for Southern hospitality? Although the size is daunting, Maia is well worth the investment of time and energy. Maia is our protagonist, a divinely beautiful peasant girl. She is sold into slavery by her family - thus begins her journey. Sex, politics, femin ...more
Dec 31, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
There's nothing really wrong with this book. The prose is skilled, if not my style, the political plots are dense and well-developed, and I liked the worldbuilding and general idea. Unfortunately, Maia is my least favorite type of character: naive to the point of stupidity, beautiful, always good-hearted and beloved of everybody she meets - I found her totally boring and was hoping she would die and let Occula take over the narration, because at least she had personality beyond "yay please have ...more
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I first read this book when I was twenty-three and then re-read it about twenty years later. I remember loving the book in my youth but it has lost much of its luster now, both as an older person and as a writer. Plain and simple, Maia is a Mary Sue character -- beautiful beyond measure, beloved in the extreme, insanely talented. Her mother is jealous of her beauty, every man wants to bed her. Later events only reinforce her Mary Sue attributes.

That said, I did love this book and still do love i
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maia is an extraordinarily beautiful 15-year-old peasant girl. She is seduced by her step-father, and out of jealousy, sold to a slave trader by her mother. From there is she is sold into the harem of one of the three top officials of a decadent and disintegrating empire. She finds herself almost immediately in a maelstrom of political infighting as the situation in the empire grows more and more desperate. Tightly plotted and well written. Adams is also the author of Watership Down, but this is ...more
Wait...the guy who wrote Watership Down wrote this too? Man, I remember reading this when I was younger. Maybe college? I'm not sure! Could've been late high school. All I know was that there was a lot of freaky deaky things which took up half the book, and the other half was weird political stuff that I couldn't wrap my head around back then. I'm almost tempted to put this on my to read list again, but seeing I'm already reading Watership Down, I think I'll hold off. Don't need Richa ...more
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Adams was born in Newbury, Berkshire. From 1933 until 1938 he was educated at Bradfield College. In 1938 he went up to Worcester College, Oxford to read Modern History. On 3 September 1939 Neville Chamberlain announced that the United Kingdom was at war with Germany. In 1940 Adams joined the British Army, in which he served until 1946. He received a class B discharge enabling him to return to Worc ...more
More about Richard Adams...

Other Books in the Series

Beklan Empire (2 books)
  • Shardik (Beklan Empire #1)